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American History

Finding Books

Search QCAT to find books, journals, videos and other materials owned by the Library.  You can search by keywords, author, title or subject headings.
To find a specific known item, search by title or author.  To find books on a topic, either try a subject or keyword search.

Subject Headings vs Keyword Searching

Subject headings allow you to search the library catalogue for resources on a particular author or topic and are often more productive than keyword searches. 
Keyword searches work best if you have multiple concepts or topics. Think of the words that best describe your topic and then connect them with the boolean operators AND OR NOT. Use the results to find relevant titles and identify assigned subject headings for your topic in order to find similar books. 
To find books by a particular author/person, search QCAT by author:
lincoln abraham

To find books about a particular author/person, search QCAT by subject heading:

lincoln abraham

To find books on a topic, use a keyword search if you do not know the correct subject heading for a topic. Think of the focus (or key) words that describe your topic.

women and "civil war"

Select useful titles and look at the full record for subject headings.

women--united states--history--19th century
united states--history--civil war, 1861-1865--women

Examples of subject headings relating to American history:

American Loyalists
Apache Indians
Boston Tea Party, 1773
Gettysburg, Battle of
Indians of North America--Massachusetts
Presidents--United States
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--Social conditions--1933-1945

To find bibliographies on a topic, look for the subdivision bibliography following a subject heading.

united states--history--civil war, 1861-1865--bibliography

To find primary sources in the library, look for the subdivision sources following a subject heading.

women--united states--history--sources


The Library subscribes to a number of e-book packages which can be accessed via Databases. Packages that are of interest to history students are:
Provides full-text access to major works in American, European and Middle Eastern history. Topics covered include many aspects of history plus archaeology, area studies, art, folklore, literature, music, philosophy, political science, religion, and women's studies. Records for these books should be in QCAT.
Historical reference compendium allows access to the texts of the Cambridge Histories series. Search or browse by topic. Relevant for undergraduates, graduates, lecturers and researchers.
Blackwell publishes a series of books of historiographic essays on many topics in history. They are available online through Blackwell Reference Online.
A collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.
The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 10,000,000 fully accessible books and texts. There is also a collection of 300,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed or downloaded by the print-disabled at
Oxford Scholarship Online                        
offers full-text access to scholarly publishing in 20 subjects from around the world,
Provides access to about 600,000 electronic books (ebooks) Prom a wide variety of publishers.
UPSO includes titles from Oxford University Press and other partner presses.  QUL has access to selected titles, indicated by a green open lock icon on search results screens.